One easy way to spot scams is that the scammer promises that the transaction "remarkably" will be risk-free. If it was truly legitimate, would they need to say this?
Another way to tell is when the domains and the countries don't match up. This is a Nigerian guy, sending email from a New Zealand domain (canterbury.ac.nz) with an address belonging to someone else (Michael Hartshorn). The recipient is instructed to reply to a different address — in this case, belonging to live.com, which is one of Microsoft's free email services hosted in the U.S.
Does this seem legitimate to you? Of course not. Don't respond, don't be fooled by these types of scams.
From: Gerald Ekeoma firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: February 1, 2010 7:04:26 PM EST
To: Recipients not specified: ;
Subject: I will await your earliest return mail
From Dr. Gerald Ekeoma
Chairman NNPC Contract Committee.
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)
Address: 28, Ademola Street,
Attn: Please reply to: email@example.com
I am an Accountant and the Chairman of the Tender Board Committee which awards contract in the Department of the Petroleum Resources of Nigeria . I sent you email sometime ago informing you of our plan to transfer the sum of USD $8.6Million (Eight Million, Six Hundred Thousand US Dollars only) to your account. I have been waiting to hear from you, but up till now, nothing has been heard from you hence this particular message by way of reminder and reconfirmation of how serious we are on this project.
I want you to know that this funds originated from an Over-invoiced contract sum which was awarded to a foreign firm in 1999. I and my other colleagues in the Tender Board purposely inflated the actual cost of the contract to the tune of USD$8.6 Million. However, the original contractor has fully executed the contract, the project commissioned and the contractor paid his actual contract worth, leaving behind the over-invoiced sum. So, it is based on this that we now want you/your company to come forward to stand in and claim this sum on our behalf.
We are Civil Servants, and we are not allowed to operate foreign account while still in office, so you are to act as one who had executed a contract worth the sum of USD$8.6 Million for my Department and you now want your payment settled. Remarkably, this deal is 100% risk free. We are perfectly in charge and had worked out modalities that would guarantee a hitch free transfer of this fund to your account fully free of any liens or encumbrances and are clean, clear and non-criminal origin. We have also mapped out 35% of the total sum for you for your help and assistance while the remaining is for me and my colleagues.
If you are interested in the proposal, and you are a trustworthy person who would not sit on this money if it is transferred into your account, kindly indicate by contacting me through my E-mail and you can as well send your bank account details for this transfer. Please note that this deal must be kept absolutely confidential till we have concluded it.
NOTE : After a successful transfer, 35% for you, 65% for us. We will also visit you immediately we conclude this transaction to collect and invest our shares of the total sum into any viable business you may advise us in your country.
Please send your response through my private email address: firstname.lastname@example.org for my urgent attention. Nevertheless, I got your email contact information through the INTERNET. Thank you as we look forward to your anticipated co-operation.